15th September is Ganesh Chaturthi and I am already in a tizzy. We are celebrating the Ganpati Festival this year at our home in the UK for the first time and boy are we excited about it. I have always celebrated this festival with the rest of my family so there was always either my mother or then later my mom-in-law who were in charge .This is the first time that I am going to be completely responsible for the way things turn out. So I am excited as well as nervous.
I already have visions of how I am going to decorate the room in which the Ganesh idol will be placed and what kind of sweets I can make for the daily Puja and Aarti. Speaking of sweets brings to mind the Show Stopper of the Festival Lunch,which are these Ukdiche Modak.
Ganesh Chaturthi and Ukdiche Modak have to go hand in hand. I cannot celebrate this day without these delicious creations. So best way to ensure that you can make these, is to take a trial run a few days before the actual day of the festival. And that's exactly what I did today. This was also my idea of a perfect entry for Sharmi's event JFI Rice .
Here's how I went about it:
Ingredients (For 7 to 8 Modak):
For the outer cover:
1 katori (see pic) very fine Rice flour (sieve the rice flour to get a fine and soft flour),
1 katori water,
a pinch of salt,
Ingredients for the sweet stuffing:
2 cups fresh grated coconut,
1 cup jaggery (palm sugar)
1/2 tspn cardamom powder,
1/2 tspn grated nutmeg
Steel Katori used in all maharastrian homes
Procedure for Outer Cover:
1.In a steel container mix the rice flour ,water and salt to make a smooth paste(see pic)
2. Pressure cook this paste like you would do for dal in a pressure cooker, (thats about 3 whistles and simmer for 5 to 7 mins)
3. Let the pressure cooker cool for a while before opening it.
Uncooked Rice Flour Paste
Procedure for the stuffing:
1. While the pressure cooker cools down prepare the stuffing.
2. In a heavy bottom pan mix the grated coconut and jaggery and cook the mixture for 20 to 25 mins on a very low heat, stirring frequently
3. After switching off the heat add the cardamom and nutmeg. Let the stuffing cool
Coconut and Jaggery Stuffing
4. After the rice flour dough which is called Ukad has cooled down enough to handle ,oil your palms well and knead this dough till it becomes very pliable and soft enough to fill and shape into a modak. Along with oil also use water on your hands to further assist you with this.
5. Now make a lemon size ball of dough ,place it between two oiled plastic sheets and spread out the dough with your thumb to the size of a puri (see pic)
6. Place this puri on your wet palm and place a tblspn full of stuffing in the centre. Make vertical pleats in the dough by pinching it at regular intervals between your thumb and forefinger (I wish I could show you a pic but I was struggling so much at this stage that holding a camera was simply impossible)
7. Now close the modak from the top by creating tapering shape .(Gosh! I am so bad at explaining this) But I guess all marathi readers will know what I am taliking about and for others the final product should look like the modak in the main pic and the pic below. )
8. To steam these I used an idli cooker and idli moulds. Use any kind of good steamer. At home in India we normally place a soft muslin in a colander ,put all the modaks in it and then place the colander just inside the rim of the pressure cooker and steam for 15 to 17 mins. Alternatively they can be steamed in an electric rice cooker too. Imp Note: Before steaming, dip each modak quickly in water and then place in the steamer. This prevents the modaks from cracking
Serve with generous dollops of homemade ghee. No ! don't say no to Ghee. You must have Ghee (or Sajuk toop as we call it) with Modak.
I hope my post inspires many of you to try them out this year, that's the reason why I wanted to post these a little before the 15th and secondly let me now go over to Sharmi's for JFI: RICE